Retirement Age and Your NYSLRS Pension

For some NYSLRS members, your retirement age matters when it comes to receiving your NYSLRS retirement benefits.

Your pension will be based largely on your years of service and final average salary, but your age at retirement is also a factor. How age plays into the equation depends on your tier and retirement plan.

Members in regular retirement plans can retire as early as age 55, but they may face significant pension reductions if they retire before their full retirement age. The full retirement age for members in most tiers is 62, and it’s 63 for Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) Tier 6 members and for Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) Tier 6 members who leave public employment before retirement age, but have enough service to receive a pension. If you joined NYSLRS on or after April 1, 2012, you are in Tier 6.

retirement age

Benefit reductions are prorated by month. The closer you are to your full retirement age when you retire, the less the reduction will be. Here are some examples of how that would work.

  • ERS Tiers 2, 3 and 4, PFRS Tiers 2, 3 (Article 11), 5 and 6: If you retire at age 58 1/2, your pension will be permanently reduced by 16.5 percent.
  • ERS Tier 5: If you retire at age 58 1/2, your pension will be permanently reduced by 20.83 percent.
  • ERS Tier 6: If you retire at age 58 1/2, your pension will be permanently reduced by 29.5 percent.

Once you retire with a reduced benefit, the reduction is permanent — it does not end when you reach retirement age.

Retirement Age Exceptions

Tier 1 members can retire at 55 without a benefit reduction. Benefit reductions don’t apply to ERS Tier 2, 3 or 4 members if they retire with 30 years of service. Tier 5 Uniformed Court Officers and Peace Officers employed by the Unified Court System can also retire between 55 and 62 without penalty if they have 30 years of service.

More Information

Understanding how age affects your NYSLRS benefits is crucial to retirement planning. To learn more, please review your retirement plan booklet on our Publications page.


34 thoughts on “Retirement Age and Your NYSLRS Pension

    1. Kathleen Keane

      When I turn 62 in 2025 I believe I will have 19.63 years in the retirement system. Do I need to wait a little beyond 62 in order to not be penalyzed or if my pension will be at a higher rate it the number of years will be exactly 20? I am trying to figure out how many more months I would need to put in to make 20 being 19.63 falls on my 62nd birthday. Also, I was a temp. employee through an agency when I worked through a school district am I able to buy time from then and would it be worth it for about 6 months extra time? Lastly, I have heard that NYS does not tax your penison if you live in state is this true? I am looking into moving down south so that I can stretch my retirement, but now I am hearing this.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS

        A NYSLRS pension is not subject to New York State income tax.

        Most NYSLRS members receive a better benefit once they have 20 years of service credit. To learn more, please review your retirement plan booklet on our Publications page. You can also use our online Benefit Projector Calculator to get an estimate of what your pension would be at different retirement dates.

        For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
      2. Efrain

        By retiring with at least 20yrs, your pension benefits is higher (equal to 2% per year). Although at 62 years of age there is no penalty, but having less than 20yrs in service earns you less per year of service. I recommend you to do at least the 20 years of service and retire earning 2% per year of service.

        Reply
        1. Kathleen Keane

          Efrain that is what I had thought, but I wasn’t 100% sure. Thank you so much for your help in this matter. It’ll be here before I know it 🙂

          Reply
    2. Denise Statler

      I am looking at having to leave employment and move due to my husband being relocated to Florida. How much is it going to impact my retirement benefits? I am looking at leaving with 19 yrs of service. Any info will be helpful at this point. I keep calling and get hung up on because call volume is too high.

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS Post author

        It depends on your Tier and retirement plan. Most Tier 1-4 members can use our Benefit Projector Calculator to estimate their retirement benefit. The calculator allows you to enter different retirement dates and service credit totals to compare potential benefits.

        You can email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
    3. ws

      Re benefit reductions- if someone in tier 4 retires at 55 with 25 years of credit and a FAS of 60,000 is the pension calculated as 25yrs x 2% x 60,000=$30,000 and then a penalty of $8,100 (27% x 30,000) resulting in a pension of $21,900 or is the it calculated as 50% -27%=23% and then 23% x 60,000=$ 13,800

      Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      The percentage you refer to is tied to the years a person works. Whether you have a cap on the number of years you can use toward your pension depends on your retirement plan and tier. For more information about your retirement plan, you can read your retirement plan booklet. For account-specific information, you can email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
    2. Marcelino Ortiz

      Im planning to retire by age 55 with only 14 years if service. With the 27% penalty reduction, I’m afraid I have to get a per diem job just to offset the big amount if money I’m loosing. My question is, can I work per diem shifts as many as I want or will there be some restrictions ?

      Reply
      1. NYSLRS Post author

        If you are receiving a NYSLRS pension and work for a public employer in New York State, your earnings in a calendar year will be subject to an earnings limit. Under current State law, NYSLRS retirees can earn up to $30,000 per calendar year from public employment without a reduction in their pension. There is generally no earnings limit once the retiree is 65. For more information you can read our publication, What if I Work After Retirement.

        For information specific to your circumstances, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

        Reply
    1. Charlotte

      EJ, you are correct! I’m always astonished by state employee gripers. I worked more than 30 years in the private sector, paying 5x as much for insurance benefits and having to contribute much of my paycheck to 401K AND supporting state worker benefits. Returned to state service recently for the outeageous free rides no one in private sector gets!

      Reply
  1. MACG

    Can a ERS Tier 5 member retire with ten years of service at age 55 but NOT collect on pension until their age is beyond 62 to avoid the percent reduction?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      That’s correct, if you’re a Tier 5 member with ten years of service and you leave public employment at age 55, but don’t collect a pension till age 62, you won’t have a reduction for early retirement.

      Keep in mind that your pension will not start automatically and you must file a retirement application to receive a benefit. You may be interested in How Do I Prepare to Retire? This booklet takes you step by step through the retirement process.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        I am tier 5, and would also like to eventual retire sometime after 55 but before 62 and delay filing for benefits until 62 to avoid reduction. I have been told by my employer that in doing so I would lose my eligibility for retiree healthcare(that I would otherwise meet employer eligibility requirements) because NYSLRS will not allow them to give me that benefit without me being on payroll or collecting pension. Does anybody know if this correct?

        Reply
        1. NYSLRS Post author

          If you are a member of New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), you may want to read their booklet Planning for Retirement. The New York State Civil Service Department administers NYSHIP for State employees and some local government employees. You can contact them for more information.

          If you do not retire directly from the public payroll, certain NYSLRS benefits may also be affected. For more information, please email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

          Reply
  2. Kathy

    Ah my own fault for commenting at all, to get abused by other commenters because I started at 19 and not 25 years old and want to retire after 30 years. It have to work 36 years to retire, unlike others apparently. I’m quite satisfied and totally grateful with tier 4 you’re missing the point. Rule of 85 passing in legislature would solve this inequity.

    Reply
  3. Jacob Whitehead

    I’m a tier 3 correctional officer. If I retire at 20 yrs of service, instead of 25 yrs, what reduction will that have on my pension? Also, when could I collect on that pension? Would I have to wait until I am 55? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      You can find the information you are looking for in the Service Retirement Benefit section of your retirement plan booklet, available on our Publications page.

      For account-specific information, please email our customer service representatives using the secure email form on our website. One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  4. Lori H

    Can time served before your date of membership in the retirement system count towards reaching that magical 30 years of service?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      If you are eligible to purchase credit for previous public service, that service credit can generally be used to reach NYSLRS milestones, such as 30 years of service.

      To request credit for public employment before you joined NYSLRS, please complete and submit a Request for Previous Service form. You can mail it to the address on the form or attach it to our secure email form, available on our website. You can also ask account-specific questions using the secure email form.

      You can find information about creditable previous service, cost to purchase credit, and how it may increase your pension, in our publication Service Credit for Tiers 2 through 6.

      Reply
  5. Robert

    I am a Tier 4 member. I will have 30 years of service at age 52. If I leave public service at age 52 but wait until 55 to collect retirement benefits, will there be any reduction to my benefit?

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS

      A Tier 4 member with 30 years of service in the Article 15 retirement plan (most Tier 4 members are in this plan) can leave public employment and collect a pension at a later date, with no benefit reduction. However, there are benefits that you may lose if you leave payroll before you collect your pension.

      We suggest that before leaving public employment, you speak to our customer service representatives to get account-specific information. You can email them using the secure email form on our website. One of them will review your account and respond to your questions. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information. You may also want to speak to your health benefits administrator to find out how leaving public employment before retirement would affect your health benefits.

      Reply
  6. Clifton Vassell

    Good day,
    Did not review my retirement papers recently. I would like to know if a pensioner’s wife or husband is entitle to pension when a spouse passed.
    Just curious.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      That depends what pension payment option the retiree chooses at retirement. Some NYSLRS pension payment options, in exchange for a smaller monthly benefit, continue payments to a beneficiary after the retiree’s death.

      If you are retired, your Retiree Annual Statement lists what option you chose or you can sign in to your Retirement Online account to find out. You can also email our customer service representatives using the secure form on our website (http://www.emailNYSLRS.com). One of our representatives will review your account and respond to your questions about your payment option. Filling out the secure form allows us to safely contact you about your personal account information.

      Reply
  7. Jake

    I’m a thirty year employee at 61. I was talked out of the ERS and in to the ORP by a Human Resources Director. What a mistake. I now have from the State contributions under 225,000 dollars. be grateful if you are in the ERS. ORP is only for employees that move from job to Job and make over six figures. The rest of us have inadequate retirement funds.

    Reply
    1. NYSLRS Post author

      Parking for consultations is available in a garage that is attached to 110 State Street. The entrance is on Beaver Street. You can find directions and a map on our Albany Consultation Site page.

      Metered parking is available on area streets, and public parking lots are also available.

      Reply

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